Only one Republican from New England may be left in Congress after the November elections


“I will not be voting for Donald Trump for president” – Senator Susan Collins

New England’s shrinking Republican delegation in Congress is moving toward the brink of political extinction in November with Donald Trump at the top of the party’s ticket…Only four Republicans remain in New England’s 33-member congressional delegation, and three are in competitive races this fall. The other, four-term Senator Susan Collins of Maine, doesn’t face re-election this year.

Republican moderates who once represented the region became a dying breed in the past few decades as the party moved to the right. Trump, with his controversies and bombastic demeanor, has complicated what was already a difficult task of getting re-elected for the region’s party members.

Losses by Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte and Representative Frank Guinta, both of New Hampshire, and Representative Bruce Poliquin of Maine could leave Collins as the only member of her party in Congress from the six New England states: Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, Maine and Massachusetts…

Democrats, even before Trump was nominated, were banking on Clinton’s coattails to help them win the Senate and make gains in House seats. Trump’s antics and cratering poll numbers have some Republicans increasingly worried about a rout in November.

Princeton’s Julian Zelizer said there’s a “cushion” of Republican congressional seats in the South to guarantee continued strong presence, even with a loss of some members. But there’s no such cushion in New England for Republican lawmakers.

The Pew Research Center says the combined House delegation of six New England states went from 15 Democrats and 10 Republicans in 1973-74 to 20 Democrats and two Republicans in 2011-2012.

The cradle of the American Revolution was also an important center for every generation’s fight against bigotry, for civil rights. Whether you were an Abolitionist, fighting for Women’s Suffrage, involved with the LGBT struggle for equal opportunity, New England could be counted on for national support.

As one of the centers for education in the nation, contempt for populism and Trump makes rote Republican politics a liability.

Sometimes you get what you need, sometimes you lose what you deserve to lose – eh, North Carolina?


Bob Donnan/USA Today Sports

The NBA has decided to hold the 2017 All-Star Game in New Orleans after taking the midseason event out of North Carolina because of a state law that limits anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay and transgender people.

New Orleans, announced Friday as the new location of the game, replaces Charlotte, which was set to host the game until the NBA decided last month to move it elsewhere.

Unlike several other Southern states, Louisiana has not been swept up in legislative efforts to pass laws similar to that in North Carolina — a fact Gov. John Bel Edwards has touted while lobbying the NBA to bring its All-Star weekend to New Orleans.

“We embrace our rich cultural heritage and see our diversity as a virtue,” Edwards wrote in a letter to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver in late July. “Should the NBA choose to bring the All-Star Game back to New Orleans in 2017, it will strongly reaffirm its commitment to communities that value fairness and inclusion.”

The NBA’s decision — and the economic boost it will bring — provides a timely dose of good news following disastrous flooding across large swaths of southeast Louisiana that has killed at least 13 people and damaged an estimated 40,000 homes…

This marks the third time New Orleans, which became an NBA city for the second time in 2002, has been selected to host the league’s All-Star Game.

A number of entertainment acts, including a Bruce Springsteen concert, have canceled North Carolina events because of its so-called HB2 law…

The Human Rights Campaign, a national civil rights group working on behalf of lesbian, gay and transgender people, applauded the NBA’s decision to choose New Orleans.

The boycott is an old and honorable political act. The opportunity to stick it to a state controlled by voters who elect and re-elect bigots – and take away $100 million in revenue that would have landed in the North Carolina business community – is enough to make an cynical old Leftie like me smile for days.

That the process ends up benefitting the people of a state traumatized by natural disaster – and expands upon services rendered to needy folks by the kindness and social understanding of NBA athletes – is a special bonus.

Whistleblowers will collect $100 million

After his warnings about Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme went ignored for years, Harry Markopolos urged U.S. regulators to encourage tipsters. Now, the forensic accountant and a team he put together are in position to benefit from those new incentives.

U.S. government settlements with State Street Corp. and Bank of New York Mellon Corp. could produce a windfall for three former employees who blew the whistle on the banks’ alleged mistreatment of foreign-currency-trading clients. Mr. Markopolos, who assembled the group and advised them, could reap a slice of any payouts awarded to the whistleblowers…

Those awards could exceed a combined $100 million, the largest such awards on record, according to an analysis by The Wall Street Journal.

The currency investigations have changed the way trust banks operate, crimping what had been a profitable corner for the banks as the markups in currency trades have fallen, analysts said. The potential payouts also could encourage more tips to regulators about possible improprieties.

“Whenever there’s a big award…there’s an uptick of filings and submissions,” said Erika Kelton, an attorney who has represented whistleblowers. “Those large awards show these programs work, and that the risk of stepping forward may be a risk worth taking.”

I’ll second that emotion.